Logic Apps Standard runtime is here: implications for BizTalk Server users
Released in June 2021, the new Logic Apps Standard runtime is Microsoft’s latest offering in the logic apps technology space.
We’ve been saying for a while that it might be time to think of modernising classic on-premises BizTalk Server installations, and Microsoft’s BizTalk Migrator tool helps users to make the move to the cloud.
We think the introduction of Logic Apps Standard is all the more reason to think about making this move, and so we’re going to look at that in more depth in this article.
Logic apps – the existing consumption model
Existing cloud-based logic apps operate in a multi-tenant environment, meaning that deployment happens on the same infrastructure as everyone else’s logic apps. Though it would be unlikely, a rogue logic app has the potential to take down everything.
To protect your existing logic apps and run them independently, you’d need to use virtual networking. And for that to happen, you’d need your own integration services environment, which is expensive.
To date, logic apps have been consumption based, charged through a pay as you go model. That’s great if you have only a small number of workflows, but there could be unlimited charges if you have many workflows, and it’s hard to work out what those exact charges are.
All of this is the existing logic apps model, which Microsoft now refer to as Logic Apps Consumption. The new kid on the block is Logic Apps Standard, which doesn’t use a pay as you go approach. But that’s not the only difference.
Logic Apps Standard – a new approach to logic apps
Logic Apps Standard is a rewrite of logic apps that we think delivers four main benefits to the old way of doing things:
- Flexibility: Logic Apps Standard now runs on the Azure functions runtime, making it serverless. The functions runtime is based on Azure App Services and can run anywhere: in Azure, on-premises in a container, locally on a PC, or even on someone else’s cloud.
- Independence: Logic Apps Standard is single-tenant and you get all the Azure functions, such as virtual networking.
- Design and testing: Logic Apps Standard comes with a new designer with significant improvements, and you can now develop and test logic apps locally.
- Potential cost savings: Logic Apps Standard works on a flat monthly fee (around £120/month in the UK for the lowest level offering) rather than the classic pay as you go consumption model. It can be quickly turned off and back on, allowing savings where budgets are sensitive.
And this is where we think BizTalk Server users should start to get excited.
BizTalk has always been an on-premises integration tool only. If you wanted an on-premises or even a hybrid integration, BizTalk was a necessity if you wanted to stay in the Microsoft arena.
But as we see above, Logic Apps Standard offers flexibility, app independence, testing control and a possible reduction to your monthly bills.
So, with that on the table, it might be time for you to seriously consider making the move from BizTalk Server. And the good news is that a version of the BizTalk Migrator Tool that lets you target Logic Apps Standard is being released shortly.
The even better news is that, in the future, you’ll be able to deploy your converted solution to a on-premises installation.
We talk more about Logic Apps Standard support and a roadmap for what’s happening next in our YouTube Logic Apps Live special edition from 30 June 2021.
Possible downsides to Logic Apps Standard – but they’re only temporary!
It does sound as though migrating your logic apps from consumption to standard is a no-brainer, and we think that ultimately that’s what most people will do. However, to keep things balanced, let’s consider the possible downsides.
- It’s new: Logic Apps Standard is hot off the press and there may be some early teething troubles as it evolves.
- It’s different: Logic Apps Standard’s deployment requires DevOps pipeline changes, and that might pose a challenge to your setup.
- It’s limited (temporarily): Logic Apps Standard uses existing cloud connectors that the classic consumption setup uses plus its own in-built connectors, but there’s support for only a limited number of these at the moment. When running locally, or in a container, you can only use the built-in connectors. Support for BizTalk-centric connectors isn’t in place yet, which is understandably a reason why you might wait to move to Logic Apps Standard. Still, we think it’s a temporary issue, as we expect to see feature parity by the start of 2022.
- It might increase costs: Logic Apps Standard’s fixed monthly cost may not make sense if you’re using only a few functions. If your current bill for your consumption logic app actions is less than £120/month, you might be better off sticking with the consumption model.
Microsoft has no plans that we are aware of to sunset Logic Apps Consumption, and it will suit some businesses that need to use very small numbers of workflows each month. It’s also especially good for creating proofs of concept, and so we’re not suggesting that everyone must abandon the consumption model.
However, we do expect most people to migrate their apps to Logic Apps Standard, and so it’s worth getting ready for this. The BizTalk Migrator Tool can migrate to consumption or standard, though at the time of writing, there’s no automated way to change from consumption apps to standard apps.